Copyright, C, May 2021 – applies only to words of Steve Erdmann. Other words may be under separate copyright and persons should contact the authors directly.
A rather interesting (if not a total rehash) about a few of the recordings from Air Force Project Blue Book files which add some insight into the many UFO cases collected. The famed Kenneth Arnold sighting is analyzed and some discrepancies brought to the fore. The distance that Arnold saw his UFOs on Jun 24, 1947 is disputed. “If Arnold actually saw the objects and if his estimate of distances is correct, that of size cannot be, and visa versa,” says the Air Force, “in view of the above, it appears probable that whatever objects were observed were intelligent and authentic agents in the sky, therefore, had been some sort of known aircraft.”
The Mantell case of January 7, 1948 has been stated as an UFO attack on Mantell’s plane. The Air Force files depict general confusion in which Mantell originally saw the planet Venus along with the flight of a Skyhook balloon—the two intrinsically tired into one sighting. “The sighting might have included two or more balloons or aircraft; or they might have included both Venus (in the fatal crash) as well as balloons,” said the Air Force.
One gets the impression from the files Steiger has gleaned from the Air Force that the Air Force didn’t have a heck of a lot of information about ‘saucers.’ Dr. J. Allen Hynek makes an appearance in various forms and reports throughout the book, perplexed and even cynical, until, approximately, the time of the April 24, 1964, Lonnie Zamora ‘UFO landing.’
It appeared that the Air Force got tired of chasing ‘ghosts’ and in 1966 turned the whole mess over to the Condon UFO Committee investigation.
Civilian investigators have howled about an Air Force conspiracy but all this book has shown is their perplexity and even disgust with the inability of people to properly identify or hoax air objects.
“Project Blue Book” turns some of the best-known UFO tales into a TV series, starring Aidan Gillen as investigator J. Allen Hynek. (History Channel Illustration)
“Project Blue Book,” the History Channel TV series making its debut tonight, takes its inspiration from classic UFO cases of the 1940s and 1950s — but for UFO fans who gathered to watch a Seattle preview of the first episode, the show hints at the shape of things to come as well.
“You won’t believe how many productions are coming down the pike right now to basically red-pill the public,” Michael W. Hall, the founder of a Seattle-area group called UFO iTeam, said at the screening. “The truth is out there, and guess what? We’re going to have to ‘fess up to it right away.”
“Project Blue Book” fictionalizes the real-life X-files of pioneer UFO investigator J. Allen Hynek. So it was natural for Hall — an attorney based in Edmonds, Wash., who styles himself as the “Paranormal Lawyer” — to put out the word to the more than two dozen UFOiTeam members to attend November’s movie-theater preview.
The series takes its name from the real-life Project Blue Book, a U.S. Air Force campaign that investigated UFO reports starting in the 1950s. Hynek was the scientific consultant for the project, as he was for two earlier investigations known as Project Sign and Project Grudge.
The trained astrophysicist eventually came to believe that some UFO sightings were genuine mysteries and deserved more serious scrutiny. Nevertheless, the Air Force shut the project down in 1970 .
Hynek, who passed away in 1986 at the age of 75, is a kindred spirit for UFO enthusiasts — and particularly for folks like Maureen Morgan, who is Washington state director for the Mutual UFO Network, also known as MUFON.
Morgan and other MUFON investigators take reports like the ones chronicled in “Project Blue Book” very, very seriously.
“Generally, when we call and interview everyone who submits a report about a sighting, invariably the first thing that comes out of their mouth is, ‘You’re going to think I’m crazy,’ ” she said. “And then I remind them who they’re talking to and say, ‘No, we’ve probably heard it before.’ ”
MUFON isn’t the only organization documenting anomalous aerial phenomena. The National UFO Reporting Center, or NUFORC, has been compiling records for decades. The center’s current director, Peter Davenport, has his headquarters in an converted ICBM missile site in Eastern Washington.
Washington state has a rich history of UFO sightings — going back to 1947, when private airplane pilot Kenneth Arnold reported seeing weird-looking aircraft flying past Mount Rainier at incredible speed. News stories about Arnold’s claims gave rise to the term “flying saucer,” and set the stage for the Roswell UFO incident weeks later.
In the series premiere, Hynek (played by “Game of Thrones” veteran Aidan Gillen) is recruited by the Air Force to track down an explanation for the pilot’s sighting. He takes the job more seriously than the Air Force wants him to, however, and eventually runs up against shadowy spies and the infamous Men in Black.
Will “Project Blue Book” become a phenomenon of “X Files” proportions? Based on the premiere, the show seems a bit too earnest to strike that chord. Throwing in some quirky “Monster of the Week” episodes and the geeky Lone Gunmen might liven things up. But that might clash with Hynek’s straight-arrow vibe.
The series’ serious tone certainly suited the folks on the UFO iTeam. For them, anomalous phenomena aren’t merely fodder for a retro TV show. In this age of media mistrust and government dysfunction, maybe programs like “Project Blue Book” are in line with the temper of the times.
“Without the MUFONs and the iTeams, without the National UFO Reporting Center, there is nothing out there, and it will revert to the deep state, whatever,” Morgan said. “It will go back to the same people who were behind Project Blue Book.”
Between 1952 and 1969, the U.S. Air Force conducted a series of studies on UFO sightings called Project Blue Book. Not only is there a new History Channel series about the program, but this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the project’s termination. Get to know the secretive program better.
1. PROJECT BLUE BOOK WASN’T THE GOVERNMENT’S FIRST UFO STUDY.
In 1947, a private pilot named Kenneth Arnold reportedly spotted nine glowing UFOs zooming over Washington’s Mount Rainier. The public went wild for the so-called “flying saucers.” Shortly after, the U.S. government launched Project SIGN to determine if such objects were a threat. In 1948, Project SIGN purportedly published a document called the “Estimate of the Situation,” which suggested that extraterrestrials were a possible explanation for UFO sightings. As the story goes, Air Force officials destroyed the document and launched a more skeptical investigation in the late 1940s called Project GRUDGE. Blue Book came a few years later.
2. THE “ESTIMATE OF THE SITUATION” WAS INSPIRED BY A MIND-BOGGLING EVENT.
In the 1960s, Air Force officials denied that the “Estimate of the Situation” document ever existed. Those who vouch for its authenticity, however, say the report was inspired by a 1948 UFO sighting in Alabama, after two experienced pilots saw a torpedo-shaped “glowing object” zip past their aircraft and rocket into the clouds. The report shocked and baffled many of Project SIGN’s researchers, though scientists would later claim the sighting was consistent with a bolide, or bright meteor.
3. “BLUE BOOK” WAS NAMED AFTER A COLLEGE TESTING STAPLE.
Whether UFOs are extraterrestrial in origin is debatable. What’s undeniable is that, during the 1950s, people routinely spotted (or thought they spotted) objects flying over the United States—and it was the onus of the U.S. military to figure out what they were and whether they posed any danger. Blue Book would earn its name because, at the time, Air Force officials equated studying the phenomenon with preparing for a collegiate “blue book” final exam.
4. OFFICIALS DEVELOPED A SPECIAL PROTOCOL FOR HANDLING UFO SIGHTINGS.
A central part of Project Blue Book was the creation of a standardized questionnaire for UFO sightings. Some sample prompts: “Draw a picture that will show the shape of the object or objects … What was the condition of the sky? … Did the object: Suddenly speed up and rush away at any time? Change shape? Flicker, throb, or pulsate?” Eventually, every U.S. Air Force base ended up designating a special officer to collect these UFO reports.
5. THOUSANDS OF REPORTS WERE COLLECTED—AND SOME HAVEN’T BEEN EXPLAINED.
By the time Project Blue Book was closed, officials had gathered 12,618 UFO reports. Of those, 701 were never explained. Nearly half of those unidentified UFOs appeared in 1952 when a whopping 1501 UFOs were sighted. (Interestingly, that following year, it became a crime for military personnel to discuss classified UFO reports with the public; the risk of breaking the law could mean up to two years imprisonment.)
6. PROJECT BLUE BOOK SAW FIVE LEADERSHIP CHANGES.
Each person in command saw the purpose of Project Blue Book differently. Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, for example, treated the job as a serious scientific quest and is often lauded as the project’s most impartial leader. (Notably, he is responsible for coining the term UFO.) Major Hector Quintanilla, who took over the project in 1963, was more interested in turning Blue Book into a PR front and focused on quelling the public’s interest in UFOs—a desire that would eventually lead to charges of a government cover-up.
7. BLUE BOOK MADE SUCH BAD SCIENTIFIC MISTAKES THAT CONGRESS HAD TO GET INVOLVED.
In 1965, Oklahoma Police, the Tinker Air Force Base, and a local meteorologist using weather radar independently tracked four unexplained flying objects. Under Quintanilla’s advisement, Project Blue Book would claim that these witnesses had simply observed the planet Jupiter. The problem with this explanation? Jupiter wasn’t even visible in the night’s sky. “The Air Force must have had its star finder upside-down during August,” Robert Riser, an Oklahoma planetarium director, said at the time. A series of more badly botched scientific explanations eventually led to a congressional hearing.
8. THE PROJECT’S DESIRE TO DISMISS UNIDENTIFIED PHENOMENA BOTHERED ITS SOLE SCIENTIST.
Project Blue Book had one consistent scientific consultant, astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek. In 1968, Hynek wrote: “The staff of Blue Book, both in numbers and in scientific training, is grossly inadequate … there is virtually no scientific dialogue between Blue Book and the outside scientific world … The statistical methods employed by Blue Book are nothing less than a travesty” [PDF]. Hynek held Quintanilla in particularly low regard, saying, “Quintanilla’s method was simple: disregard any evidence that was counter to his hypothesis.”
9. IN 2007, A NEW GOVERNMENT INQUIRY INTO UFOS WAS LAUNCHED.
Between 2007 and 2012, the U.S. government spent $22 million on a new UFO study called the “Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program.” (Nowadays, UFOs are called UAPs, or “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena”: You can watch one here.) This January, more than three dozen of the program’s studies became publicly available, revealing the government’s interest in everything from warp drives to invisibility cloaks.
Debbie Siegelbaum, BBC News, Chicago
Amateur historian John Greenewald has spent nearly two decades requesting declassified information from the US government regarding UFOs.
Recently, he posted more than 100,000 pages of documents on the US Air Force’s internal UFO investigations to the internet. Here are the top five things to know from the open files of Project Blue Book.
1. Project Blue Book had a sizeable mission
The origins of the ambitious project can be traced to June 1947, UFO researcher Alejandro Rojas tells the BBC.
The editor of Open Minds magazine says a well-respected businessman and pilot, Kenneth Arnold, was flying over Washington state when he witnessed several unidentified flying objects.
Arnold later described the crafts as “skipping like saucers”, which the media adopted and took to calling flying saucers.
This high-profile incident – along with several others, including a rumored UFO landing in Roswell, New Mexico, the same year – led the Air Force to launch an investigative body.
Named Project Blue Book and headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, the program was reportedly comprising only a handful of staff.
Nonetheless the group investigated 12,618 UFO sightings in a two-decade period.
2. Project Blue Book was created in a time of public unease
Formed in the years immediately following World War Two, Project Blue Book was intended to stop the spread of public unease about a growing number of reported UFO sightings, including over such landmarks as the White House and US Capitol.
“There was a lot of hysteria with the public, and that to the military and government at the time was a big threat in itself,” Greenewald says. “It didn’t matter if UFOs were alien or not, they were causing a panic, so [the government] had to settle everybody’s nerves.”
Though frequently met with derision today, UFO sightings are said to have been discussed at the top levels of government in the 1940s and 1950s.
“It was taken very seriously back then,” Rojas says, with Central Intelligence Agency chiefs publicly claiming it was a real phenomenon and even then-Congressman Gerald Ford warning it needed to be investigated.
In 1966 a separate Air Force committee was set up to further delve into some of the cases within Project Blue Book. That group later released a report finding no evidence of UFO activity.
Project Blue Book was officially shuttered in 1969.
3. Many of the Project Blue Book cases appear open-and-shut
Though many credible sources, from Navy admirals to military and civilian pilots, reported seeing UFOs, most of the cases investigated by Project Blue Book were deemed caused by weather balloons, swamp gases, meteorological events or even temperature inversions.
In Seattle, Washington, in April 1956, a witness described seeing a “round, white object, one-half the size of the moon … [and] going round and round”, according to documents.
Investigators later concluded it was a meteor and closed the case.
In January 1961 in Newark, New Jersey, a witness reported viewing a dark grey object “about the size of a jet with no wings”.
That object was later deemed a jet aircraft flying in the area.
4. Some Project Blue Book cases aren’t so easily explained
According to Greenewald and Rojas, more than 700 Project Blue Book entries could not ultimately be explained by investigators. Many such cases cited insufficient data or evidence.
But even some of the closed cases raise more questions than answers for UFO researchers.
In one such example, a police officer in 1964 in Socorro, New Mexico, halted vehicular pursuit of a suspect after he saw a strange aircraft overhead.
The officer followed the craft – which he described as bearing a strange red insignia – and saw it land and two child-sized beings exit.
It later took off, leaving scorch marks and trace evidence on the ground.
“[Project] Blue Book labelled it unexplained; even after all these decades they still can’t explain it,” Greenewald says.
5. There is still information to be uncovered about UFO activity
Though Greenewald has amassed a stockpile of government documents, he says there are still many he – and the public – has not yet accessed.
One request to the National Security Agency yielded hundreds of pages, but they were so redacted only a few words were readable on each page, he says.
Other US government entities – including the Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency – also conducted UFO investigations that have not been publicly released, Greenewald notes.
“I think Project Bluebook … is simply the tip of the iceberg,” he says, adding he will continue to request more information from the US government.
“There are secrets after conspiracies after scandals that continue to come out,” Greenewald concludes. “There’s always something to go after.”
In November 2004, several U.S. Navy pilots stationed aboard the USS Nimitz encountered a Tic-Tac-shaped UFO darting and dashing over the Pacific Ocean in apparent defiance of the laws of physics. Navy officials dubbed the strange craft an “unidentified aerial phenomenon,” but they have remained mum on what, exactly, that phenomenon could’ve been. Now, unsurprisingly to anyone who’s ever considered making a hat out of tinfoil, the military has confirmed they know more than they’re letting on.
In response to a recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, a spokesperson from the Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) confirmed that the agency possesses several top-secret documents and at least one classified video pertaining to the 2004 UFO encounter, Vice reported.
According to the ONI spokesperson, these documents were either labeled “SECRET” or “TOP SECRET” by the agencies that provided them, and that sharing the information with the public “would cause exceptionally grave damage to the National Security of the United States.”
The Secret of Project Blue Book
January 7, 2006, 5:53 AM
Feb. 24, 2005 — — Today, if you ask the Air Force about UFOs, it will cite its own 22-year study called Project Blue Book, which said there is no evidence that they are extraterrestrial vehicles and there is no evidence that they represent technology beyond our own.
Blue Book, based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, investigated hundreds of UFO reports yearly throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
But the truth is Blue Book never became a serious, full-scale, scientific inquiry. The main purpose of the Air Force’s UFO office was public relations, says Robert Goldberg, author of “Enemies Within: The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America.”
“That mission was denouncing the UFOs, dismiss the UFOs, debunk the UFOs and anybody who believes in them — just come up with answers and get this UFO thing out of the newspapers,” he told ABC News.
Blue Book was far from a massive institute with a staff of white-coated lab technicians, said UFO researcher Mark Rodeghier. “There was a guy at a desk and a secretary and a private or someone there typing stuff. It was a very, very small project,” he said.
Explaining It Away
Blue Book may have done some investigating, but it was overwhelmed by the volume of reports that were coming in.
Col. Robert Friend, the project’s director from 1958 to 1963, told ABC News: “We wanted to explain as many sightings as possible, but we recognized that the amount of resources that would have been necessary in order to do this would have been far beyond those that we were ready to commit at the time.”
He also recognized Project Blue Book’s real purpose: “What they wanted to try to do was, I think, to re-educate the public regarding UFOs, to take away the aura of mystery.”
And the best way to keep UFOs out of the newspapers — and therefore, out of the public mind — was to say repeatedly that they were nothing more than weather balloons or rare atmospheric conditions, like a star on the horizon.
The man most often responsible for making these explanations was Blue Book’s one civilian scientist, Ohio State University astronomer J. Allen Hynek. Between 1948 and 1969, he was the lead investigator on thousands of cases.
In interviews from that time, he insisted “there is no proof that I would consider valid scientific proof that we have been visited by spaceships.”
Michael Swords, a professor of natural science at Western Michigan University and UFO researcher says Hynek’s job “was to stretch his imagination to try to find explanations for every possible case he could, even if he knew it didn’t make any sense.”
In a 1965 interview with one witness, Hynek argued with a woman who said she saw a UFO, insisting it was a meteor.
She asked, “Don’t you think it would be kind of unusual for a meteor to just fall across the road and hover over there a minute and then drop to the ground?”
Hynek replied: “The coming over wouldn’t be bad. It’s the hovering that would bother me.”
Project Blue Book even dismissed a sighting by experienced military personnel on high alert during the middle of the Cold War.
On the night of Oct. 24, 1968, Mike O’Connor was dispatched to make a repair at a missile site at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
En route, he says he saw a bright light “lift off the ground, and parallel us down the road, until we came to the missile site.” When he got out of the truck, the light “just kind of hovered there,” he said.
The Minot control tower diverted a B-52 to investigate. The navigator on the B-52, Capt. Patrick McCaslin, remembers what he saw on the radar screen: “This thing was climbing out with us and maintaining the same heading we were. That was unusual. But what really watered my eyes [was] when this thing backed away and allowed us to turn inside of it.”
Capt. Brad Runyon, the B-52’s co-pilot, says he remembers the “overall object was a minimum of 200 feet in diameter and it was hundreds of feet long.”
“It had a metallic cylinder attached to another section that was shaped like a crescent moon. I felt that this crescent moon part was probably the command center. I tried to look inside the thing, but all I could see was a yellow glow.”
He says at that point he was fairly sure it was an alien spaceship, and when the crew members returned to base, they reported their sighting.
According to Blue Book’s investigation, the crew of the B-52 and 16 witnesses on the ground said they saw a UFO that night. In its final report, Blue Book concluded that they were all probably just seeing stars.
The Air Force finally got out of the business of trying to explain UFOs in 1969 and closed Project Blue Book after an independent commission concluded that UFOs were of no scientific interest.
But there was one loud, dissenting voice: Blue Book’s once-skeptical chief scientist, Allen Hynek. After more than 20 years and more than 12,000 investigations, Hynek had become a believer.
In an interview at the time, he recalled how embarrassing it had been to take UFO accounts from military pilots during Blue Book because the Air Force had trained those men.
“They could say civilian pilots might’ve been untrustworthy, but they could hardly say that of their own military pilots. And we got case after case after case from military pilots, which never hit the press,” he said.
Hynek spent the rest of his life investigating sightings and calling for a serious scientific inquiry into the UFO phenomenon. Most of his fellow scientists rejected his opinions.
In 1973, he founded the Center for UFO Studies in Chicago to conduct more research into alleged sightings. He died in 1986.
Steve C, Erdmann, C, May, 2021, Independent Investigative Journalist
Travis Walton finally updates on his mysterious claims that he was ‘zapped’ in the Arizona woods and taken aboard a UFO. Was it really a hoax concocted by the crew of forest workers? No, according to Travis Walton , not only did the men in the forest see a UFO but Travis was indeed taken aboard the craft. Polygraph tests seemed to indicate this, medical tests as well. Yet, even though this case once again shows similarities with several other UFO abduction cases (bug eyed creatures, large cranium humanoids, etc.), the inconsistencies are more puzzling.
Could it possibly be, even though the outward appearances parade as authentic, that beneath its veneer rests a mystery larger than any ‘space visitors’ mysticism? What could be more devastating than space visitors? Perhaps Travis gives us a clue himself: “By ‘alien’ I do not necessarily mean extraterrestrial. I know of nothing that positively indicates that these crafts or either their occupants came from outer space…(there are theorists that indicate a reality) as being from this earth…”
Outlining the many theories, Travis, also details other offshoot theories. One of the many is the possible explanation that ‘saucers’ and /or ‘forces’ are apparitions are ‘images’ or ‘symbols’ from the subconscious triggered by electromagnetic energies from an intense field of energy (those oval lights in the night), sometimes so intense that one cannot look at he source. The literal spaceship theory is a thing of the past, but what a more modern version will be, is yet hard to say.
“When I was first able to focus my eyes good enough, I was still on the table. And as soon as I saw this face, and knew it wasn’t human, I tried to hit it away from me. They were much smaller than me, and I think that’s the reason they gave up. Once they found out they couldn’t control me, they split. I was absolutely terrified.”
Walton, pictured above, was declared missing for five days, during which time his logger buddies fell under suspicion of foul play. When Walton finally turned up again, not knowing how long he’d been gone, an intense investigation was underway, including multiple polygraph, physical and psychological tests.
He tells HuffPost about little known aftermath details, including subsequent research in the forest area which has shown an unusual growth rate in trees in the immediate vicinity of the encounter.
“About 15 years later, it was discovered that the trees nearest to where [the UFO] hovered had been producing wood fiber at 36 times the rate it had in the 85 years before that,” Walton says. “More recently, a complete core sampling revealed that this thickened growth was only on the side of the trees towards, or in the direction that the craft had been.”
Walton addresses the stigma that he and so many other people — who claim encounters with possible alien beings — are generally considered unreliable wackos.
“The scientific evidence of the likelihood of intelligent life in our vicinity has become so overwhelming that the people who believe that we’re alone in the universe — those are the kooks.”
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of his close encounter, Walton will speak at the November Sky fire Summit in Arizona. On the agenda is a road trip to the exact spot where this four-decade-long controversy began.
Early one November morning in 1975, a seven-man logging crew was returning home from working in Sit greaves National Park, near Snowflake, Arizona. What happened — and what they witnessed — from their truck is uncertain.
I could see out of this one craft — and I could see stars all around, but no planet or sun or anything like that. So, at some distance from this solar system.- Travis Walton, self-described alien abductee
But at some point one of the men (Travis Walton, 22), disappeared — only to re-emerge five days later at a nearby gas station. He claimed he had been abducted by aliens.
Alleged alien abductee Travis Walton in 1975. (Michael Rogers/courtesy of Travis Walton).
As it Happens host Barbara Frum spoke with Mr. Walton later that month. Here is part of that interview.
Barbara Frum: Mr. Walton, how are you?
Travis Walton: I’m feeling a lot better.
BF: Where were you?
TW: I don’t know.
BF: Can you tell us anything of what happened?
TW: I could see out of this one craft — and I could see stars all around, but no planet or sun or anything like that. So, at some distance from this solar system.
I became conscious inside the craft. And I believed I was in the hospital. I was in a lot of pain. And as I became more conscious, I looked around and I saw alien beings and I just panicked.- Travis Walton
BF: When you got off the truck to see the object that the other people on the truck saw, do you remember what you thought when you were running toward it?
TW: I just wanted to get a closer look. I didn’t have any idea of what would happen.
BF: Did you hear the truck drive off without you?
TW: No. I was unconscious at that time. I didn’t see any blue ray like they described. I just blacked out. I was just struck. And shocked, sort of.
BF: Now what’s the next thing you know for sure?
TW: I became conscious inside the craft. And I believed I was in the hospital. I was in a lot of pain. And as I became more conscious, I looked around and I saw alien beings and I just panicked.
BF: How’d they look?
TW: They looked almost human. They were very white — on their skin, and hairless. And in reddish-brown coveralls.
BF: What do you mean ‘hairless’?
TW: No hair on the head, no eyebrows, no eyelashes.
BF: No moustaches?
BF: How did they treat you?
TW: I reacted violently, because of the shock and the pain I was in. But looking back on it now, I don’t believe they had any harmful intentions.
BF: What did they feed you?
TW: I don’t recall ever being fed. I was only conscious for two or three hours out of the five-and-a-half days. Hypnosis has been trying to see if there’s any blocked memory there, or if perhaps I was just totally unconscious for that time. But there was a mark on my arm that suggested intravenous feeding.
BF: How much weight did you lose in the five days?
TW: Ten or twelve pounds. I’ve regained all of about three pounds of that weight I’ve ost.
BF: Anyone in Snowflake, Arizona, believing you?
TW: Acceptance is growing — especially since the final word of the experts that I was examined by after my return. A lot of negative publicity went out immediately, because since I was under testing and not available for any kind of an interview or comment, they just seized on a lot of speculation and a lot of negative things came out. But since then, acceptance has been growing tremendously.
BF: Are you going to write a book?
TW: It’s been suggested to me. There’s so much to tell. It’d probably be a good idea.
The Hit The Lights Podcast
The Travis Walton UFO incident & Abduction
APRIL 17, 2020 TOP5S
The Hit The Lights Podcast
The Travis Walton UFO incident & Abduction The Travis Walton UFO incident & Abduction
It is one of the most famous and at the same time one of the most controversial cases in Ufology. Travis Walton is now a name that has become synonymous with the alien abduction phenomena thanks in no small part to the mass media attention his case received at the time. This profile was only raised further with the release of the 1993 movie “Fire in the Sky” which chronicled the events surrounding his abduction. But for all those who believe Walton’s story, there seem to be an equal number of people who doubt his authenticity and both he and the other witnesses to the events that fateful night have come under personal attacks by those claiming they faked the whole thing as part of some money-making scheme.
Walton’s story has left researchers, sceptics and law enforcement asking countless questions regarding their respective fields of interest. But the one question everyone seems to want to know the answer to is this; just where was Travis Walton between November 5th and November 10th, 1975. Was he as some have suggested, hiding out in a cabin or a tent deep in the forests of Arizona, waiting to re-emerge with tall tales of aliens? Or was he indeed carried away by some unknown force for reasons that still elude us?
In this Destination Declassified video, we are going to break down key points in the Travis Walton case. It is not our aim to prove Walton is telling the truth nor are we here to suggest he is a liar but until he or his colleagues come forward admitting it is a hoax or some previously undiscovered evidence emerges that proves he is telling the truth; we are left with deciding for ourselves what we want to believe.
The apparent alien abduction of (then) 22-year-old Travis Walton in the winter of 1975 is perhaps one of the most well-known of such encounters. Not least due to Walton’s story resulting in a book and then the movie – Fire In The Sky. It is also, perhaps ironically, this monetary “compensation” enjoyed by Walton that has led some to cast doubt on the incident, with several investigators claiming the account is nothing but a hoax. In September 2017, Walton would defend himself against such claims. Although, as we will look at shortly, Walton did fail one lie-detector test, he has passed no less than sixteen others. The main witnesses to the incident also passed their lie-detector tests, and furthermore, it is hard to see what each of the men would have to gain by supporting an apparent hoax.
It remains a case that fascinates most and divides opinion in others. It is potentially, however, barring any kind of proof or admission of fabricated or manufactured events, one of the most important incidents of its kind. And certainly, one of the most documented and investigated. The case is not only intriguing, but it also opens other avenues and areas of concern regarding the UFO and alien question. Not least, the apparent rabid nature of skeptics, or perhaps even those that use skepticism as a shield to issue disinformation and cover over whatever truth might be available.
Before we move on look at this most intriguing encounter in more detail, check out the short video below. It is the trailer to the “Fire In The Sky” movie. As Walton would state later, the filmmakers used “artistic license” with some of the scenes on board the UFO, but the essence of the account is true to reality.
A Glow In The Woods
On the evening of 5th November 1975, at a little after 6 pm following another hard, grinding day sawing trees in the Apache-Sitgreaves region of the US National Forest, seven hired woodcutters were making their way home to the town of Snowflake, Arizona in the head of the group, Michael Rogers’ pick-up truck. As they chatted among themselves, the men, Rogers, and Walton, along with Ken Peterson, John Goulette, Steve Pierce, Allen Dallis, and Dwayne Smith, suddenly noticed a strange glow coming from the woodland that hugged the side of the road. Thinking it was perhaps a forest fire, all the men were suddenly more attentive than they might have been, lest they became trapped in such a situation.
According to MUFON’s report on the incident, as they approached the hill in the road where the light was coming from, they suddenly saw a “large silver disc” hovering over a clearing in the roads. It glowed brightly, lighting up the patch of ground underneath it. Slightly in shock at what he was seeing, Rogers would bring the truck to a stop. As soon as he did so, and without warning, Walton would leap out of the passenger-side door and walked directly towards the strange, glowing craft.
Not hearing, or not listening to the rest of the woodcutting crew who were pleading and demanding he return to the truck, Walton continued until he was standing directly underneath the mystery object. Then, strange mechanical turbine-like noises began to fill the air. At the same time, the craft began to wobble, still in its hovering position. Walton, perhaps now sensing something was about to happen, stepped back slightly and slowly began to back away.
Then, came the “beam of blue-green light”.
“Beam” Strike And Disappearance
According to the reports of UFO researcher, Jerome Clark, the witnesses from their vantage point from inside the truck, witnessed a blue-green beam strike Walton square in the chest. This caused him to rise “a foot into the air, his arms and legs outstretched, and shoot back stiffly some ten feet”. During this, Walton remained within the glow of the craft’s light. Suddenly he was seemingly flung to the ground “like he’d touched a live wire”, striking his shoulder upon landing “his body sprawled limply”, apparently dead. That is certainly what the rest of the group initially thought as they sped away from the scene as quickly as they could.
What exactly happened next and in what exact timeframe varies slightly from account to account. However, after initially fleeing the scene the remaining six made the decision to return to the area to retrieve their friend and colleague. However, upon doing so, he was no longer there. Despite being sure they had the correct location; he was simply nowhere to be seen.
More than unnerved and simmering towards panic, the men would drive to a shopping center in the nearby town of Heber. Again, while the exact timeframe varies slightly, sometime between 7:30 pm and 8 pm, Ken Peterson, on behalf of all six of them, phoned the local police. His call was answered by Deputy Sheriff Chuck Ellison. Although on the phone Peterson stated merely that one of their crew had gone missing, Ellison still agreed to meet them at their location.
When he arrived, however, the men, all visibly distressed (with some close to tears) would tell them exactly what they had seen.
The crew of Travis Walton
“If They Were Acting, They Were Awfully Good At It!”
Perhaps naturally, Ellison was taken aback with the outlandish nature of such a serious claim. However, he would later state of the men’s demeanor and behavior, “if they were acting, they were awfully good at it”.
It was at this point, himself slightly overwhelmed with the strange nature of the apparent incident, that Ellison would contact his superior, Sheriff Marlin Gillespie. His orders were to ask the men to remain at the shopping center under his supervision until he could arrive. Around 9 pm, Gillespie, along with police officer, Ken Coplan, pulled up their police car in Heber.
By this time, several members of the crew, Rogers, were becoming increasingly anxious. With the apparent lack of action Rogers would demand that a search was launched immediately and that they should return to the scene of the incident . Although they were not able to utilize any police search dogs, several officers, along with Rogers, Peterson, and Dalis did examine the location. However, there was no sign of Walton. And perhaps more importantly to their suspicions, there was no sign that anything as untoward as the crew were claiming had taken place.
The remaining crew members in the meantime would return to Snowflake and begin to inform family and friends of the bizarre situation. As the night wore on the search would have to be delayed until the morning. However, there was concern among the police that Walton, who was dressed only in jeans, shirt, and a light jacket, would fall victim to the brutal winter-like, freezing conditions of the forest.
Suspicions Of A Hoax
Along with Roger, Coplan would travel to Walton’s mother, Mary Walton Kellett’s house to inform her of the situation and the witnesses’ account of it. Her response and overall demeanor would strike Coplan as “odd”. Rogers would tell her of her son’s disappearance to which she calmly listened before asking him to repeat the account. Then, the first question she asked was whether anyone else other than the crew and the police were aware of the situation. Coplan believed it wasn’t a typical response of a mother informed her son is missing. Ultimately, it would simply harden his suspicion of one untruth or another regarding Walton’s apparent disappearance.
However, deeper analysis of Walton’s mother’s general character would suggest this aloof type of response to be in line with her personality and attitude. She had, for example, raised six children, largely by herself and in difficult circumstances. She was ultimately very “guarded” regarding her feelings in public. As the days went on, though, the stress became all too apparent for all to see. On the night of the disappearance, she would contact Walton’s brother, Duane. Upon hearing the news, he would travel to Snowflake from his home in Glendale, Arizona.
By the following day, 6th November, with the sunbathing the area in full light, the region was searched once more. This time, many more people were part of the operation, including multiple volunteers from the local community. However, once again, there was no sign whatsoever of Travis Walton. Police, at least privately, suspected that the “UFO story” had been put in place to cover up an accident, or even a homicide.
The Fred Syvanus Tape
It was only a matter of days before news of the incident leaked to the reporters from a whole range of sensationalist-type tabloid newspapers. As well as UFO investigators with various degrees of genuineness and competence. One of those UFO investigators hailed from Phoenix, Fred Sylvanus. Whether his intentions were well-intended or not, the interviews he obtained with Michael Rogers and Walton’s brother Duane would go on to be often used by skeptics. It perhaps didn’t help that both men would openly, and maybe correctly, criticize the effort by the police in finding their colleague and brother.
More importantly and, in part, a genuine cause of concern over the years was Rogers’ “admission” that he would no longer be able to fulfill his logging contract. We will come back to this later as if there is any kind of fraudulent behavior afoot, this could be key.
The other statement would come from Walton’s brother, Duane. He would reveal that both he and his brother had a long-lasting interest in UFOs. In fact, Duane would even reveal that he had witnessed a UFO himself twelve years previously. Furthermore, he would offer completely of his own accord, that both he and Travis had made a pact that if either of them was ever to witness a UFO they would “get as close as possible”. Some reports even claim they would “try to get on board”.
Each of these statements would be used repeatedly against those involved with the case. Before we move on, let’s look a little further at the logging contract. And, as unlikely as it might have been, why it is, whether coincidentally or not, perhaps the one real chink in the armor of their story.
The Logging Contract
The timber thinning contract that Michael Rogers successfully bid for and won in the spring of 1974 is perhaps of interest. As per the terms of the deal struck with the US Forest Service, Rogers would be responsible for the thinning operation over 1,277 acres of land in the Apache-Sit greaves forest. Rogers, in part, was successful with his bid due to considerable undercutting of the other companies bidding for the contract. However, by the summer of 1975, it was becoming increasingly obvious to Rogers that he was simply not going to meet the predetermined deadline to have the work completed.
This would lead him to apply for a deadline extension. This was granted, but it would mean a monetary fine against what he had agreed to be paid. He would forfeit one dollar per acre for all work carried out after the original deadline. The new extension was agreed, and Rogers was to have the thinning operation complete by the 10th of November. Once again, however, it quickly became apparent to Rogers that he was going to miss this second, extended deadline. If Rogers applied for another extension, which may have been granted, he would incur further fines. Furthermore, due to the already missed original target date, the Forest Service wouldn’t pay in full for the work until it was complete.
This was quite a concern for Rogers. Not only would he not be able to pay his crew, but he also himself would be severely hampered financially. And with winter just around the corner which would even further hamper work, some believe that Rogers, along with the rest of the crew concocted the abduction claim to have their contract voided and receive payment in full due to circumstances beyond their control stopping them from finishing the work.
Suspicions Of Foul Play
As the days went on following Walton’s disappearance and several unsuccessful searches of the Turkey Springs area where the crew had been working, suspicion began to increasingly return to the crew members. Due to the amount of time, he had been missing combined with the below freezing temperatures of the first two nights of his disappearance, the feeling among the police began to discreetly change from a search-and-rescue mission to one of recovering the young man’s body.
After the second full day of searching, the police would approach the crew members with an offer for them to take a lie detector test. They had initially offered to take “any kind” of test in the hours following the disappearance to prove their account was truthful. Polygraph examiner, Cy Gilson, generally respected in his field as being fair and accurate with such readings, would conduct the tests.
All the crew members would pass the tests with no problems whatsoever, aside from Allen Dalis, whose didn’t fail the test, but whose results were inconclusive. It was also known that Dalis didn’t particularly get on with Walton. His inconclusive result, despite the efforts of the crew members, singled him out as being responsible for what the police were increasingly sure was Walton’s death. Incidentally, just under twenty years later in 1993, Gilson would retest Mike Rogers and Allen Dalis, as well as Travis Walton. He would use a “state-of-the-art” computer. All of three of the men passed the test.
Back in the winter of 1975, among suspicions of foul play, Walton’s sister, Grant Neff, received a sudden phone call slightly after midnight on the evening of the 10th of November (going into the 11th of November). On the other end was Travis.
Several suspected Walton of a hoax
Walton sounded confused, panicked, and disorientated. His sister managed to retrieve information that he was calling from an Exxon Station somewhere nearby. Grant’s husband and Walton’s brother, Duane, would immediately jump in their vehicle and head towards Heber where they indeed found Walton “crumpled to the floor of the phone booth” at the gas station.
Years later, in the book ‘The Walton Experience’, Walton would recall his first memories of waking up following his five-day disappearance. He would claim that he “regained consciousness lying on my stomach” with his head on his outstretched arm. He immediately noticed how cold the air was and was “instantly awake”. It was then he noticed a bright light “on the bottom of a curved, gleaming hull”. Then, he noticed the “mirrored outline of a silvery disc” hovering somewhere over him.
He would estimate the craft to have been around forty feet in length. It moved silently above him for several moments. As he followed it moving only his eyes from where he lay he could “see the night sky, the surrounding trees, and the highway center line reflected in the curving mirror of its hull”. Suddenly a “warmth” caressed the exposed skin of his body. Then the object “shot vertically into the sky”. In an instant, the craft was gone. Walton would later recall that “the most striking thing about its departure was its quietness”.
After taking Walton to his mother’s house, his brother Duane would take him to a hospital in Phoenix. And after some initial resistance, all involved would allow APRO (Aerial Phenomena Research Organization) to drive the case. They would immediately have Walton examined by two different physicians.
Memories From Inside The Craft
According to Walton, the last thing he clearly remembered was being struck by the beam of light as he stood underneath the glowing disc. The next thing he knew, he was lying on a flat service like a “reclined bed”. He immediately noticed that the air was damp and “heavy”. He also immediately felt pain all over his body. A light shone down on him from above. Each breath was decidedly difficult and painful.
He at first believed he was in a hospital somewhere. Then, he noticed the three figures stood around him. Each donned an orange suit, although it was perfectly obvious to Walton that they were not at all human. He would later state these figures were around five feet high, certainly no taller than that, and with strange bald and enormous heads. Their eyes were equally large. He would describe them as “almost brown without much white in them”. The rest of their facial features were decidedly smaller than their size suggested. What Walton was ultimately describing was three, grey aliens.
With a surge of fear-induced adrenalin running through him, Walton jumped down from the bed and quickly stood. He began to shout at the three strange creatures, warning them to stay away. He managed to pick up a “glasslike cylinder” from a shelf as he backed away. His intention was to smash to object and use it as a weapon. However, he was unable to break it. Instead, he waved it at the three creatures and continued to shout. To his amazement, they backed away and left the room. After waiting for a moment, Walton also left the room.
The High-Backed Chair In The Round Room
He would proceed down a hallway and soon found himself in a round room. He could see a strange chair with an overly large back to it sitting in the middle of the room. Walton stepped forward, making his way towards the chair. As he moved inside the room, lights began to come on around him. He cast his eyes around the intriguing and mysterious room, assuring himself he was still the only one inside. Satisfied, he moved forward, sitting in the chair. Upon doing so, lights came on all around the room reminding Walton of a “planetarium ceiling”.
He would recall that the left-hand arm of the chair had a “single short thick lever” with an “oddly molded handle”. On the other arm was a lime-green screen, casting out a warm glow. Walton pushed on the lever and the “lights” rotated until he let go of it, now stopping in their new position. Suddenly realizing he had no real idea what such buttons and levers might do, he got out of the chair. As he did so, the lights above him went out.
Then he heard a noise from behind. He spun around, witnessing a tall humanoid figure with a glassy helmet. On its frame was blue coveralls. Walton began to fire questions at the “man”, but he either didn’t hear or ignored him. Instead, he would motion to him that he should follow him. Walton did so, following the tall figure down another hallway. He carried on down a steep ramp and soon found himself in another large room. A room like an aircraft hangar. It was then that he realized the ramp was a walkway out of the disc-shaped craft. He saw two other discs “landed” in the hangar in front of him.
Mothership, Or Terrestrial Base?
Whether Walton was on board a mothership of sorts somewhere in Earth’s orbit or even farther out in space, or whether he was taken to a more terrestrial base somewhere on Earth is unclear. He was, however, led into another room where he claimed to see three humans, two men and a woman. Unlike the person who had led him here, these people had no helmets although they too, as Walton could also now see of the helmeted man, had a strange larger appearance to their eyes.
Once more he began to ask questions of the trio. However, much in the same way as the first humanoid, they dismissed his inquiries. They instead directed him to another table-like object, motioning that he should sit down. Before he realized what was happening, the “woman” approached him. In her hands, she had a mask-like device. In another second it was clasped to his face. A second later, he lost consciousness.
Walton claimed his next memory is of waking up, on his stomach outside the gas station in the freezing cold. Above him was one of the disc-shaped objects which shot directly upwards at breakneck speed after several seconds. It was then, still confused, that Walton went to the telephone box nearby. In his mind, he believed he had been missing for a few hours. It was only when his brother arrived that he was told he had been missing for a full five days.
A Purposeful “Mental Block!”
There were certainly some interesting details that surfaced in the immediate aftermath of Walton’s return. Many theories circulated that Walton may have been attacked and drugged. He had, according to the theory, awoken in an unknown hospital. And confused, would believe his strange surroundings to be that of the inside of a spaceship. While that would perhaps make sense, it wouldn’t explain the sighting of the disc-shaped craft by all the crew, including Walton. Indeed, it was this sighting that would have, if we believe the above theory, influenced Walton’s confused perception. And besides, if Walton was attacked in such a manner, by whom? And why? Furthermore, there was no sign of head injury. Nor were any drugs that may have caused such confusion present in his system.
Another little-known event in the immediate days following Walton’s return was a meeting he and his brother, Duane had with ARPO consultant, James Harder. To prove his genuineness, and to unlock any other memories of the account, Walton would agree to undergo hypnotic regression. Harder himself would conduct the session. What was interesting, though, was that Walton’s “conscious recall and unconscious memory were the same”. Furthermore, and perhaps even more interesting, on either mental level, Walton could access only the two-hour period following the beam of light hitting him in the chest. Anything beyond that had a feeling of being “off-limits”.
Both Walton and Harder would get the impression that there were indeed memories to unlock, but that there was a purposeful “mental block” preventing access to them. Walton would even state that if attempts to retrieve these memories continued “he would die”.
Interesting Details And “Other” Sightings
There were other details that very much supported Walton’s claims. He sported a full five days’ worth of beard growth, for example. He also appeared significantly malnourished. What is interesting, however, is that despite this very real physical evidence of a prolonged period of starvation, there is also evidence to suggest that some form of basic nutrition would find its way to Walton. There wasn’t, for example, elevated levels of electrolytes in the blood, which would normally be the case had Walton literally starved of all nutrition for a prolonged period.
So, with that in mind, whoever or whatever did take Walton from the woodlands of Arizona, and wherever they took him, they were concerned, prepared, and aware enough to administer appropriate levels of fluids and nutrients to prevent any long-term damage to his health.
Perhaps also of interest are several sightings on the 10th of November – several hours before the apparent return of Walton. Although the location is unclear, the witness would report seeing a “V-formation of orange lights” over her house. She waited to see if the lights would return. Then, she blacked out. Her next memory is of sitting a large chair in a strange room with dim lights all around. She could see several “human figures” walking back and forth through a doorway. The next thing she knew, she was back in her home.
On the same night, a report came from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. According to the report, “a bright star-like object…about the size of a car” was moving across the sky. Estimations would suggest an altitude of 1,000 to 2,000 feet high but with no noise whatsoever. The sighting would receive corroboration from three other witnesses. Interestingly, several sightings came from Canada in the early hours of 11th November.
The Movie “Fire In The Sky” – A Great Display Of The Emotional Impact
Several years after the abduction encounter in 1978, Walton would release the book ‘The Walton Experience’ in which he would tell the full story, as much as he could remember of it, of his abduction and the events that unfolded afterward. The book would eventually result in the movie by Paramount Pictures ‘Fire In The Sky’ in 1993.
As we will examine a little more later, many used already established suspicions and added the monetary gain Walton would have had for the releases as further evidence that the whole event was a hoax. In defense of Walton, and some of the others such as Rogers and Dalis, the events so well and widely scrutinized, it would be extremely difficult to go back to any resemblance of a normal life. Add to that the emotional state of Walton’s mindset following the incident, even if he had been able to just step back into his “old life”, his fragile state of mind required he very much stay out of the limelight. So, any form of monetary compensation offered would have surely been a welcome relief.
The film was a moderate success and generally met with good reviews. Some of the scenes inside the craft were overblown. And not at all in sympathy with Walton’s account. They did, though, “borrow” details from a medley of other similar abduction accounts. And so still present a realistic experience. What the film really does achieve greatly is relate how such an incident impacts on those involved both emotionally and mentally. Even the crew’s decision to report the incident would come after indecision and second-guessing.
You can check out the short video below where Walton talks a little of the “artistic decisions” of the film.
Further Points Of Interest
We will look at the renowned UFO skeptic, Philip Klass, and his perception of the case shortly. However, one of the main areas of concern for those looking to prove a hoax was Walton’s apparent previous interest in UFOs and aliens. In fact, one person who knew the family claimed that Walton was a “UFO freak” and had been for years. Another stated that the entire (Walton) family had made claims of seeing UFOs over the years.
This is a particularly interesting point. Many alien abductees discover that their abductions been a recurring process for many years. Often going back to their youths. Many also involve other family members such as siblings or parents. And what’s more, these abductions, in some cases, have gone on through generations going back decades. With that in mind, then, and if we accept Walton’s account as true, genuine, and accurate, it is perhaps no surprise that Walton’s mother and siblings have also had similar accounts to tell of. Even should none of them remember an abduction, it is at least possible if they are seeing UFOs combined with what we know of Walton’s account, that they too have had similar more close-up encounters.
Before we examine some of the claims of a hoax, check out the short video below. It features Walton, many years after the incident returning to the scene of the abduction. Interestingly, the area has experienced an accelerated rate of growth in the trees in the immediate vicinity of the area. Experts have claimed this accelerated growth is simply a natural occurrence and is not at all proof of a strange incident being the conduit for such a change in growth acceleration. However, trees cut down immediately prior to the incident, suggest otherwise.
The Bias And Manipulative Narrative Of Philip Klass?
One of the main skeptics of the incident at the time was Philip Klass. However, Klass’ bias and manipulative style in using out-of-context part quotes and bending them to his narrative are very much on show here. A lot of this would come from comments on the Fred Sylvanus tape.
For example, Klass would ultimately paint a picture of a hoax, with Rogers and Walton at the top. Merely keeping the rest of the crew in line with promises of monetary gain and outright threats of violence. He would question that Rogers at no time showed “the slightest concern over whether Travis might have been injured or killed”. However, when listening to the hour-long interview in full, this isn’t the case. The interview occurred while Rogers and Dalis were physically searching for Walton. Several comments about the nature and state of Walton’s injury are clear. Even that at one stage that several of the crew, including himself, started crying due to the bizarre events.
Another example is a conversation Klass puts across as Rogers threatening one his crew, Steve Pierce, who had apparently been offered $10,000 to sign and stand by a denial of the events. Apparently, he was thinking of doing this to which, according to Klass, Rogers said “Then you’ll spend the money alone and you’ll be bruised”.
However, the full quote from Rogers is entirely different. It was, “Steve told me and Travis that he had been offered $10,000 just to sign a denial. He said he was thinking about taking it. We asked him. ‘ Even though you know it happened, would you deny it just for the money?’ He said maybe he would. He was thinking about it. So, I told him ‘Then you’ll spend the money alone, and you’ll be bruised”.
The “Forest Contract Theory” And Attacks On Trivial Issues
While the theory that the alien abduction of Travis Walton was really a hoax to release Rogers from his logging contract is sound, in theory, it was one that Klass pushed in his overzealous way. According to him, Forest Service Contracting Officer Maurice Marchbanks, confirmed that such an incident, if it were true, would be an “act of God” and would free Rogers of his contract and result in him receiving all monies owed.
However, Klass didn’t feel the need to also relay March bank’s opinion that such a hoax was improbable. He would state that “there was no way such an alleged hoax could benefit Rogers”. Others involved with the Forest Service agreed that he would have nothing to gain from such a hoax. Not least to his reputation.
Klass also drew overzealous attention to the fact that Walton, through his own admission, had smoked marijuana “a few times” in his youth. Although attitudes to such a minor drug are much more liberal and sensible today, at the time in the mid-1970s, many in society simply wouldn’t separate smoking a joint to sticking needles in one’s arms. Klass was aware of this also and used the matter-of-fact admission to paint Walton as a “drug-user”.
Klass also reported that Walton had previously served time in jail. This isn’t true. Several years previously, he and Rogers’ younger brother altered payroll checks and declared guilty of check fraud. The pair would complete two years’ probation. Despite the incident being his only serious legal trouble, Walton has stated his “embarrassment” at it.
The “Failed” Lie Detector Test
Then, there is the failed lie-detector test of Travis Walton, the very first lie-detector test following his reappearance. Klass alleges that this test not only proves Walton to be a fraud but that APRO actively suppressed it. In truth, this wasn’t quite the case. A lie detector test had indeed taken place. On 15th November, only five days after Walton reappeared in Heber.
The National Enquirer newspaper would essentially bankroll the APRO investigation into the Walton case. They, in turn, were looking for exclusive rights to their findings. The first test was administered by John McCarthy. A man with two decades of experience and very much respected. At least according to Klass. However, while he declared that his opinion was “gross deception” APRO argued the test to be inconclusive. This, due to the still emotional state of Walton. Perhaps most intriguing, however, was that when McCarthy’s test records were examined by Dr. David Raskin. Many see Raskin to be the best in his field. He would state McCarthy’s technique was “unacceptable”. Furthermore, his equipment and use of it was “thirty years out of date”.
Just as an example, McCarthy appeared aggressive in his questioning. At one point asking if he (Walton) had “colluded” to manufacture a hoax. Walton replied he didn’t know what the word meant. McCarthy would fire back that collusion was “planning or conspiring”. Just like he had “colluded to steal and forge payroll checks”.
Whether the decision to keep this first test “quiet” was correct or ultimately more damaging, is open to debate. It does appear, however, that McCarthy was biased and unable to conduct such a test. Not least due to the bizarre nature of the events of Walton’s mentally fragile state at the time.
A Genuine Close Contact Encounter?
On balance, it is likely that the abduction of Travis Walton is a genuine account of close extraterrestrial contact extraterrestrial. There are, however, some intriguing aspects to examine.
For example, where did Walton go once inside the disc-shaped craft? Did he leave the planet and go somewhere into the near or far reaches of space? Or was his journey more terrestrial? Was he, in fact, taken to one of the many alleged secret bases? One deep underground somewhere in a remote location on Earth? And if so, what does that tell us of those behind such bases? Were the “humans” that Walton witnessed humans? Or were they humanoid and still of an extraterrestrial nature? And if they were human, does that suggest some authenticity to the claims of an alien-human pact? One that proceeds with dark, clandestine operations on the rest of the planet’s populace?
Whatever the truth Walton would ultimately return to normal life. Marrying Rogers’ younger sister, Dana, and eventually finding work at a lumber mill in Snowflake. He occasionally appears on television specials or at UFO conventions. One of the most memorable was perhaps in 1993 following the release of the ‘Fire In The Sky’ movie. Both Walton and Rogers would appear on Larry King Live along with the Klass. During the interview, Klass would lose his temper and announce Walton to be a “goddamned liar”. Many still consider Klass a genuine skeptic and debunker of such cases. Many others, though, including some skeptics, suspect him spreading disinformation.
Seven People, Over Forty Years, And Numerous Lie-Detector Tests?
The details offered by Walton at the time were also quite unique. Certainly, from much of what was in the public arena of the era. We must remember; this was before the Internet and the sharing of information among enthusiasts. Many would even draw attention to a TV-movie (The UFO Incident) based on the abduction of the Betty and Barny Hill, perhaps the first widely known abduction case that had aired in the weeks leading up to the alleged abduction of Walton.
Some charge that this movie, in part, gave Walton and Rogers, the core of their idea to perpetuate the hoax. If this were the case, however, it would perhaps make sense that Walton would have offered details more in line to that of the Hill incident. He didn’t, though. The details offered of both the abduction and the particulars of the craft were completely different. They would also be ones that would surface in other reports over the years. Furthermore, Walton could only remember two hours of the incident and not any other memories of the five days he was missing. Again, this apparent simplicity suggests an authentic account.
Is the location of importance? After all, the remote and dense forest regions of Arizona and the surrounding states are mysterious. Rife with reports not only of UFO sightings but strange activity. Much of which dates back hundreds of years.
The video below is one of many interview and lectures available by Walton. Make of it, and his account, what you will. Although first, ask yourselves, would a hoax, one that stretches in several directions, and under the scrutiny of multiple lie-detector tests truly stand up for over four decades?
The stories, accounts, and discussion in this article are not always based on proven facts and may go against currently accepted science and common beliefs. The details included in the article are based on the reports and accounts available to us as provided by witnesses and documentation.
By publishing these accounts, Steve Erdmann does not take responsibility for the integrity of them. You should read this article with an open mind and conclude yourself.
The copyright applies only to the words of Steve Erdmann. Other copywritten material should be dealt with by contacting the original authors.
PROJECT IDENTIFICATION, Harley D. Rutledge, PH.D., Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 205 pages, 1981, $12.95. Softcover ISBN 10: 0137307136 ISBN 13: 9780137307135 Publisher: Prentice-Hall, 1981 View all copies of this ISBN edition 1 New
Amidst anxious anticipation by UFO buffs, Dr. Harley D. Rutledge, Ph.D., published his findings about UFOs in the Ozarks. Dr. Rutledge was chairman of the Physics Department at Southeast Missouri University at Cape Girardeau.
After making an initial investigation in March 1973, discovering to his satisfactions that UFOs are indeed in the Ozarks, Rutledge requested funds on April 26, 1973 from several major newspapers. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat responded.
While Dr. Rutledge’s Project Identification purports to have been a dispassionate study of UFOs (and the study is devoid of a lot of the mystical and sensational hysteria associated with the subject), the chapters are tinged with lively outbursts which could possibly betray a scientific study. After Rutledge sighted mysterious UFOs on May 11, 1973, he says, “for more than a year, as I approached that particular episode during public lectures, I had difficulty dealing with the motion it stiffed.” The May 11 incident was like other Project Identification episodes where ‘stars’ or ‘pseudo stars’ suddenly appear in the sky to scintillate and the suddenly ‘blink out.’ Some chapter headings are A Terribly Strange Night and A Second Terribly Strange Night. Most of his ‘team’ consisted of fellow students from the university.
Some of Rutledge’s cases seem to warrant more excitement. One Thursday the Project team flew a Cessna 150 to Clark Mountain. Rutledge observed an amber light along the slope of the mountain which blinked out. As they approached the second light, it suddenly streaked upward at that Rutledge estimated to be “10,560 feet- per- second squared, or, 7.200 mile-s per -hour, 32-feet—per-second squared…,” a phenomenal act, especially in light of the fact that ‘flying saucer’ reports are typical of such fast acrobatics which are the basis of the so-called ‘‘UFO Mystery.”
Project Identification made approximately 160 sightings of UFOs—during which 700 photographs were taken. No ‘Class A’ UFOs were able to be photographed (UFOs which had ‘’bizarre behavioral and/or physical properties that defy conventional explanation”). Class “B” UFOs were recorded as photographic ‘wiggly’ or ‘gyrating’ lines across slide frames which demonstrate almost noting conclusive.
Observation of the unclouded night sky often revealed “pseudo stars” – stationary lights camouflaged by familiar constellations. Some objects appeared to mimic the appearance of known aircraft; others violated the laws of physics. The most startling discovery was that on at least 32 recorded occasions, the movement of the lights synchronized with actions of the observers. They appeared to respond to a light being switched on and off, and to verbal or radio messages
The belated UFO Study Group of the Greater St. Louis had members that made numerous trips to Elsberry, Missouri during a 1978 UFO-Animal mutilation ‘flap’ in that area. Cameras with telescopic lenses also recorded ‘gyrating’ UFOs on slides remarkably like the Rutledge phenomena. Interestingly, however, known, and identifiable aircraft produced ‘straight’ trails on the slides. This seemed to add to the mystery. However, much-later-crews went to the identical areas to again observe the same amber, orange of yellow bobbling, blinking lights which had been seen in 1978 (the ones which apparently made squiggles on film), and promptly were able to identify them as aircraft, many coming into or out of Lambert International Airfield, while other were ‘taxiing’ in a holding area over Winfield. Many of the lights would suddenly ‘blink out.’ This latter investigative crew identified many as the ‘take-off’ light on passenger planes or other lights being ‘shut off,’ while the smaller fuselage lights never were discernable to the unaided eye at those distances. The investigative crew theorized that some aircraft appeared as ‘straight lines’ because they were much closer; aircraft much further away showed on film as the larger light on the crafts which demonstrated ‘wiggles’—possibly attributed to atmospherics, camera vibrations and air currents.
One of Dr. Rutledge’s photos from Cape Girardeau, however, recorded what he called a “helix effect.’’
In my opinion every Ufologist with the means and drive should emulate all that Dr. Rutledge did and more importantly if the larger so-called UFO organizations would follow his blueprint with modern high-tech-equipment, we may just uncover some answers.
Not only was he a major inspiration for me to create “In The Field,” but his work was unlike any other person that has entered this field before or after. Ironically, there are still researchers who are unfamiliar with him and I find this mystifying for several reasons, but mostly for the casual interest that his groundbreaking work received.
In 1966, Harley Rutledge completed his Ph.D. in solid state physics at the University of Missouri. A short time later he took the position of Professor and Chairman of the Physics Department at Southeast Missouri State University. He became President of the Missouri Academy of Science. He was Department Chairman from 1964 through 1982 and retired from teaching in 1992.
The story began in February and March of 1973 when strange accounts began to trickle out of Piedmont, Missouri of people witnessing balls of light flying around and disrupting car engines and televisions. Soon numerous people from all over began to flock to the area hoping to catch a glimpse of these anomalous balls of light. The local TV station and newspapers covered it extensively, mostly drenched in sarcasm with a few roughly criticizing the locals as uncultured.
Dr. Harley Rutledge said, “Unbiased, disinterested physical scientists usually measure the properties of inanimate matter. Biological, medical, and behavioral scientists, on the other hand, study intelligences less than or equal to their own. In this Project, we dealt with an intelligence equal to or greater than that of man. We interacted with the phenomenon under study.”
The strange events in the small town of approx. 2,000 people was all everyone was talking about and groups of people gathered outside at night to witness these mysterious lights. One night an excited woman on a local news show displayed some photos she had taken of the lights and the next morning this prompted two of Dr. Rutledge’s colleagues to jokingly suggest that he go and investigate these UFOS in Piedmont. He laughed and said, “I wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot pole!” Less than 2 weeks later he would change his mind completely.
At the time of the sightings Dr. J. Allen Hynek was active in his investigations and made a trip to Piedmont to investigate what was going on. He was contacted and invited by State Representative Jerry Howard through Police Chief Gene Bearden because of the frequency & number of sightings. He stated, “We ourselves didn’t see anything, but that’s to be expected……but we found a great number of highly excited people”. Pointing out the power of suggestion he implied that people were seeing lights from observation towers…..”You have to disregard any light on the horizon” he said.
I believe this was a large, missed opportunity for Hynek and if he had not so hastily made a judgement and left, his story would have been much different. Surely if he teamed up with Rutledge and spent some time out there he would have observed these bizarre lights, but this was not to be.
On April 6th, 1973 Dr. Rutledge, Prof. Milton Ueleke and both of their their wives made the trip to Piedmont to be briefed on what was going on by Dennis Hovis who ran the local radio station where many of the sightings were reported. During the conversation Hovis was interrupted by listeners that were phoning in sightings reports. Dr. Rutledge thought that obviously this radio station was the real “Piedmont UFO Headquarters”. Within a few minutes another call came in and when Mr. Hovis returned he excitedly explained “There’s been a UFO landing on Clark’s Mountain….This high school boy with his parents saw it and they are reliable!” Rutledge agreed to go, but as he got in the car he turned to Prof. Ueleke and said “Milton, this could be a big put-on for our benefit.”
This report turned out to be a local pilot who had dropped down behind the mountain and shut his lights off, creating the illusion that something was landing.
With no success they drove back to town and had dinner with a local couple who were friends of the Ueleke’s. Over the meal they decided to visit another spot called Pyle’s Mountain which was an area with earlier reports. It was at this spot with his telescope that Dr. Rutledge made his first observations of these strange lights and he described them this way…”: Less than an hour had elapsed on Pyle’s Mountain when a small stationary light suddenly appeared near the southern horizon. After locating and centering the light in the telescope on 8X, Rutledge attempted to view the light on a higher power, but before I could focus properly, the light went out. It had been visible for about 5 seconds. At intervals of several minutes, the light appeared 3 more times, but in a different position each time.”
He was finally able to catch it magnified at 80X when it remained visible for 20 seconds and described it as a stationary ball of light that didn’t just shut off, but “decayed” as a powerful tungsten bulb does when the power is cut.
Prof. Ueleke stated his opinion that he thought they were just viewing car headlights in the distance, but Dr. Rutledge disagreed completely and devised a plan to show that this theory was not the answer. The very next week he hired a pilot who happened to be a university student majoring in physics, to fly a Cessna 150 over the area to look for a road to use to prove his point. They located an old logging road and returned that night to observe the area. Once they were in the air they could quickly see the lights of the town when suddenly an amber/orange light appeared on the slope of the mountain near the top. The pilot turned the aircraft and made a beeline towards it, but within seconds it went out. Simultaneously another one came on several hills away and the pilot banked towards this one. Through the binoculars, Dr. Rutledge said it looked to be awfully close to the earth’s surface, possibly on it and as they got closer to it suddenly shot straight up and out of view. Rutledge stated “My interest took a decided leap after those two sightings from the Cessna 150. But although the appearance and behavior of the two lights were perplexing, I did not accept them as UFO’s at the time.”
This launched into what would become “Project Identification” and would span from 1973 until 1980. A total of 158 viewing stations were setup all over the area and the sky was watched for 427 hours. There were 620 observers over the years and 378 were Project observers. Not included are the many hours Project members observed the sky when not present at a station. There were 157 sightings of 178 UFO’s and the behaviors that they observed have all been recorded by different members of “In The Field” in the present day. Some examples are what Dr. Rutledge called “Pseudo stars” and this is when they will hover in place, sometimes for a long period of time to blend in with the stars and then suddenly move off or blink out. Another example would be something Rutledge did not observe, but many told him they had witnessed it and that would be a ball of light cruising over an area and dropping a smaller lit object down to the surface, usually a wooded area. Several members of ITF have caught this on video and it is obvious that they have some type of agenda and are intelligently controlled.
The advantages we have today are extremely better for observing and gathering data from these sightings, yet it has not happened except in sporadic individual cases with “Active Observers” like us. Not only is our equipment far more advanced than in the 70’s such as night vision, telescopes, cameras, or spectrometers, but to communicate with others and move in on a repeat, active area (Flap) would be swift.
Unfortunately this has happened in a few cases, where an area was highly active and was reported over and over yet ignored and even scorned at without any observation by laptop critics. Meanwhile the larger so-called UFO organizations are posting videos or photos of lens flares and insects, yet this actual UFO activity is clearly ignored. They need to take a good long look at what this man achieved or what we at ITF are trying to achieve and follow suit….follow the Rutledge Blueprint…
Rutledge said: “A relationship, a cognizance, between us and the UFO intelligence evolved. A game was played. In my opinion, this additional consideration is more important than the measurements or establishing that the phenomena exists. This facet of the UFO phenomena perturbed me as much as the advanced technology we observed. It is a facet I cannot really fathom – and I have thought about it every day for more than 7 years.”
At 2 a.m. in March 1967 on a farm about 4 miles west of New Baden, Leona Boeving saw a UFO in a field near her house.
In a Belleville News-Democrat story by reporter Michelle Meehan from August 9, 1992, Boeving said, “It was like the full moon was cut in half standing on the ground.”
“It had a bright white light on top and then a whole row of little red lights at the bottom. There were these metallic things around it, like strips of silver,” Boeving said.
She woke her daughter, Marilee Black, who was staying with her.
In a July 2017 interview, Black said, “Yes, I remember it. All I have to do is close my eyes to picture the thing.”
“It was round and large even from where we stood in the house. It was something I had never seen before,” Black said.
She could not see anyone inside it, only the bright lights coming from it.
They watched it for a few minutes. “Then, my mother opened the window. Suddenly, it lifted and went south. If it made a sound, we didn’t hear it,” Black said.
Terrified, Boeving and Black remained in the house until morning. “It was just scary,” Black said.
When they explored the field, Black said the heat from the object left burn marks on the ground. “Nothing grew there for quite a while,” Black said.
Boeving called Scott Air Force Base, which is about 7 miles from the farm, for an explanation.
Black said, “They knew nothing and could say nothing about it. I guess it didn’t fly from the base.”
Black has seen nothing unexplained since that time and is fine with that. “I don’t ever want to see it or anything like it again,” Black said. “It was frightening; it really was.”
In the 1992 BND article by Meehan, Boeving is quoted as saying, “There were a lot of people who, to this day, think we were crazy. But I’ll tell you, I was the biggest non-believer there was. I probably still would be — if I hadn’t seen it myself.”
Not all the lights seen at Elsberry could be identified to everyone’s satisfaction, however. For instance, a stationary ‘star’ seen on June 25, 1978 that remained so for over fifteen-minutes or longer, suddenly began to bob and weave in a circular pattern. The UFO then moved in a wide arc heading eastward over the Mississippi River as seen through the tree line. Surprisingly, it doubled-back towards three witnesses stationed on a farmer’s field. There was no sound at all. The witnesses estimated the craft to be at a 2,000 feet level. It came directly over the farmer’s field and witnesses, banked directly over them, and then headed back out over the river. It appeared to be a lighted fuselage with passenger windows. As it left the area, a red strobe light seemed to have been turned on. A very peculiar and uncharacteristic airplane.
On July 16, 1978, over ten people were suddenly surprised by lights that seemed to ‘pop’ onto the scene of Highway V and W, momentarily hovering (or seemed to) and then ‘drift’ off (these were photographed). Others insisted these were regular airplanes.
Rutledge would feel vindicated by these sightings, it would seem. However, the more skeptical investigators feel a rigorous study in aircraft identification is needed:
** Field crews consisting of aeronautic engineers, flight operation managers, aircraft pilots, and FAA specialists jointly observing UFOs at night and consensually giving their opinion as to identity. Pilots, amateur astronomers, aircraft technicians often aren’t able to singularly identify the behavior or appearance of airplanes or helicopters.
** Experts specializing in ‘nocturnal aerial photography’ are needed: we have found that opinions as to what is ‘photographed’ in the night sky and ‘why it appears on film as it does,’ are as varied and entangled as the dispute as to what ‘lights’ constitute UFOs and which one don’t.
Rutledge admitted that much study is necessary. The team used radar and other electronic scanning (some of it was never removed, however, from Rutledge’s home office). One of the findings was the recording on color film the spectrum of a UFO using an objective blazed diffraction grating—but Rutledge does not say one word as to what was discovered. Perhaps, then, it was really nothing.
Rutledge did not, however, insinuate that space people are involved; he entertained the possibility that UFOs are little known manmade inventions. He talked about German research on ‘flying discs’ in 1941, and about PRVs (Remotely Controlled Vehicles) which resembled spinning discs which “hardly make a sound.”
As Logician Peter Kor stated in his article The Tue Inquirer: “The process of discovering reality depends on a rigorous rationality. Intense focus on any matter will produced countless apparent connections and confirmations. Without a rigorous approach, these will be accepted as probable proof of truth, rather than mere possibilities that should be tested.”
If Project Identification could have been expanded into a perpetual, thorough team, into a broad range of experts and equipment in weekly or daily trips into UFO areas, possibly the problem of UFO identification would have become less of a will-of-the-wisp.
Steve C, Erdmann, C, May, 2021, Independent Investigative Journalist